SEATTLE — As COVID-19 ravaged the world, it brought out the best in people who, for too long, had been taken for granted. "Where Do We Go From Here: Stories from a Transforming World," pays tribute to the frontline workers who carried us through the worst of times.
"Incredible individuals and communities were doing wonderful work in this time of crisis," said co-curator Sarah Bloom. "We wanted to take those stories and put them in this physical space."
From scientists to social workers, the exhibition shares their experiences, and our own. A curated timeline adorns a cable spanning the exhibition space and marks major world and regional events dating back to the start of the pandemic.
Visitors are encouraged to write their own milestones on cardboard tags, then hang them on the timeline.
"This is not just about the voices of the storyteller," Bloom explained. "It's really about the stories of everyone who's coming to see the show. And so we ask our visitors to add their memories."
Augmented reality adds a digital layer to the on-site visit. Scan a frontline worker's portrait with your phone and hear them tell their story in their own voice.
Guests can access interviews, conducted online during the earliest days of the pandemic, with a cross-section of local and regional community members, then hear how their lives have changed, through updated interviews from the past few months.
The visit ends with a pause for contemplation in a serene room, where children can add sketches and notes to a wood and fabric sculpture created by Seattle artist Jessica Byrd Ghyvoronsky.
"Take a moment and reflect on everything they saw," Bloom said.
The quiet room provides a space to appreciate our shared journey through the tragedies and triumphs of an uncertain time.
"My hope is that we can take a moment together to actually reflect on the last two and a half years because that's where healing happens."
The Gates Foundation Discovery Center's pandemic exhibition will be on display through the end of the year. Visitors are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and booster.